The 50 most important college players in Texas in 2017 — No. 46: Sam Houston’s PJ Hall
AS THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON EDGES CLOSER, WE TAKE A LOOK AT THE MOST PIVOTAL PLAYERS FOR EACH PROGRAM'S RESPECTIVE SUCCESS.
The importance of a player is not always defined by their skill level. The most important player on a team or in a unit is not always the best player on a team. This list is designed to breakdown the 50 most important players in Texas college football for the 2017 season. It is not a ranking of the 50 best college football players in the state. Importance can be defined by position, need, skill or leadership. We’ll count down the list through the summer, all the way to No. 1.
PJ Hall is one of the most decorated defensive front seven players in the state of Texas heading into his senior year. Going back to his days at Seguin High School, Hall didn’t receive a lot of attention from big-time programs in the state. While the powerhouses looked the other way, Sam Houston State got a steal. After earning first-team all-district honors at both defensive end and running back as a senior, Hall made an immediate impact on the defensive line for the Bearkats after redshirting in 2013.
Hall was a first-team All-Southland Conference defensive end as a freshman, a second-team All-American as a sophomore and the runner-up for the Buck Buchanan Award – which honors the nation’s top defensive player – as a junior last season. He’s already shattered just about every defensive career school record there is from sacks to tackles for loss, and returns as the Southland Conference Defensive Player of the Year.
Hall has bulked up to 280 lbs. since joining the Bearkats program, which gives him formidable size to go along with gifted speed that makes him so athletic. He sticks out on the field, and it’s the combination of strength and quickness that makes him so hard to stop. Whether it’s a bull rush or speed off the edge, Hall makes a living in the backfield of opposing offenses.
It’s easy to look at the stats that stand out on paper to realize just how big of an impact Hall has had over the last three seasons. He’s totaled 224 tackles, 76.5 tackles for loss, 36 sacks and eight forced fumbles. Hall also had blocked 10 kicks in his first two seasons, and those numbers extend his impact to the special teams game. His dominance has garnered national attention and he’s an irreplaceable weapon on the Bearkats defense. With both Sione Latu and Luis Carreno graduating, he will have to be even more dominant in the trenches this season with more attention directed his way. He’s shown to this point in his career that he’s more than up to the task.
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Brady Keane is a Contributing Writer for Dave Campbell’s Texas Football. Follow him on Twitter: @BradyKeane.